Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Differentiated Sight Word Practice & Freebie

Hi there! Today I am here from K's Classroom Kreations to let you all in on how I use differentiated sight word lists in my first grade classroom. First of all, let me emphasize the importance of learning sight words, or our "see it and say it" words. I teach my students that they need to save their brain power for decoding challenging words. Sight words are often tricky to sound out and are used so frequently that as readers we are more efficient if we just recognize them instantly. 

I start by assessing all of my students on the 220 Dolch Sight Words. Although my county suggests that we start on List 1, I always start with Pre-Primer and Primer words because many of my firsties come in not having mastered these Kindergarten words. My goal is to see where each child is at to help best meet their needs. I do not want to skip over Kindergarten words for those who need them. At the same time, there is no reason to be giving one of my higher readers basic sight words when they need to be challenged like everyone else. 

Once I have a baseline, I create Sight Word Rings for each student. I simply hole punch the corner of index cards and use a key ring to attach them together. 

I print a label for the front of each set that encourages parents to practice words daily with their children (in line at the grocery store, in the car, before bed, etc.). For your own FREE copy of the labels (to be printed on Avery 2 inch X 4 inch labels, model  #5163 or plain paper) click the image below. Please note, when printing with Avery Labels, the PDF is formatted at the correct size so you may need to click "Print Actual Size" rather than fit to page, etc.
I then select the first 10 words that the child was unable to read instantly (within 3 seconds) and record one per side of the index cards. For students who are really struggling I do not suggest more than 5 words per week. 

The 10 words this child would have on their ring are " down, said, where, new, now, out, saw, that, there, they"

In addition to practicing these words during word work time, students take the word ring home each week and bring it back on Friday for assessment. We also practice grade level sight words daily during our morning routine. However, these individualized word ring lists seem to really help the most. Once students master both sides of the index card (I test with the cards out of order for true mastery) I take the card off and then replace it with a new card and the next unknown words on their list. 

Each month I highlight the words they have mastered in a new color on their overall tracking sheet. As you can see, children are able to work at their own level. It does take a decent amount of time to test each child but I usually try to schedule time with a parent volunteer or assistant for this purpose. Once they get the hang of the routine this is a simple yet meaningful task for them. 

Once a student masters all of their Dolch Sight Words (I have 4 first graders already this year!) I begin them on Fry's Top 1000. I start with list one and repeat the same process as before, just adding new lists as needed. I print multiple copies of the pages from this source here and keep them in a folder, all ready to go. 

Well, thats it! I hope you were able to see how easy it is to differentiate your sight word lists to make it a truly meaningful experience for each of your students. For more ideas be sure to check me out on my blog, K's Classroom Kreations

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